What is plot? What are stakes and how are they raised and can a story or a novel still compel a reader with small or smaller stakes? What is dramatic tension and what are the other ways a writer can build tension into a short story or a chapter? What, in other words, keeps a reader turning pages through a story or a novel and what happens when these same tools are applied to literary fiction? We’ll explore these questions and other questions of plot and plotting while reading fiction from ZZ Packer, Sally Rooney, Maggie Shipstead, Patricia Highsmith, Donna Tart, Andrea Lawlor, George Saunders, Patrick DeWitt, Jim Shepard, among others. The course will consist of close readings of published work alongside workshop of student submitted work.
Corequisites: Enrolled students are required to attend Wednesday night Bennington literary events.